Thought for Food

by Frank Tybislawski,  Brisbane, Australia

I would like to share what I discovered through my recent sessions with a local Universal Medicine practitioner.

While I knew my diet was quite good, I had to admit that how I digested and reacted to the food was irregular. It seems like a simple process, one we have lived with (one way or another) since day one, yet food can be an issue throughout one’s whole life. I knew what tasted nice, I knew what didn’t taste nice, I knew what reacted with my body, so why then did I feel so up and down after eating? There had to be more to this and I needed to examine what that was, and why.

My practitioner and I discussed food and eating habits; most of our discussions centred on how certain foods felt when I ate them. For example, I already knew that a glass of milk caused severe pain, but I came to realise that other foods also had reactions in my body, perhaps in quite subtle ways which were easy to overlook. My focus throughout was to be very honest and feel each and every reaction to all the different foods I was eating. Another point discussed several times was that I often ate because it was that time of day, eg. breakfast time, so I must have breakfast. When I was asked if I was genuinely hungry on those occasions I had to say I was unsure – on some occasions I was, but on other occasions I definitely wasn’t.

The process then was one of self-reflection; firstly to be honest and ask myself, am I genuinely hungry? If the answer was no, then I had to determine why I was wanting to eat… was it to dull or override another feeling? If I was genuinely hungry it was then the time to consider exactly what I felt like eating, and how much I should prepare and eat.

Another factor also came to light; was I eating something just because it tasted nice and therefore made me feel nice? The unfortunate answer was sometimes yes, and I got to feel this quite strongly on one occasion. I knew I was genuinely hungry and was contemplating what to have for dinner. There were a few options available – a quick re-heat of some left-over chicken curry, I could steam some vegetables and have some fish, I could defrost some soup, and there were others. My first thought was the chicken curry (a typical dinner meal), quick and delicious, but that suddenly didn’t feel right. It then just came to me that what I really wanted was a green salad (a typical lunch meal); it would require more preparation, but it really felt like what my body was asking for. I made the salad like I have numerous times before with the same ingredients, but I have to say it felt more satisfying than it usually did, and I felt great after eating it. This was a pivotal moment, as I experienced an entirely different approach to the whole hunger/eating regime.

I haven’t got all the answers and I also know that this is an ongoing process which needs to be continually reviewed. Foods that suit me now may not in the future, and foods that I have dismissed previously may actually be beneficial now, or at some point in the future. What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.

1,114 thoughts on “Thought for Food

  1. Our relationship with food has certainly descended from one that is honouring of our connection to our body and being, as such honouring our evolution to one that uses food to self-medicate in order to not feel the truth of how we are living away from our connection to our Soul. Yet the irony is, we seem to know precisely what foods to eat, when and how much to dose ourselves, with the desired effect to numb and comfort the tension we feel from resisting our responsibility of living the light of who we are. So in truth it is what we are willingly aligning to that guides us to either eat to evolve, or eat to stay in comfort.

    1. Yes indeed, we know exactly what we are doing to either support the body or dull it so that we do not evolve. When we can be honest about this we step into greater awareness of our choices.

    2. I used to eat constantly, so much so that I never felt hungry. Not only did I never feel hungry but I never felt much on a deeper level because by constantly drip feeding myself food I was also constantly anaesthetising myself.

  2. I love how I can feel what my body wants and what is doesn’t. It can be tricky when one part of me feels like having something but I know I can feel not so good after eating it. I’m slowly learning what is the best approach for me with food. Being understanding and loving works wonders and feels very supporting.

  3. Building our relationship to our body and to food is a lifelong process, our body regularly changes due to weather, the seasons, hormones, stresses, our age, illness, and if we are feeling strong and vital, we are in never ending constantly changing cycles and our needs change too.

  4. To have a relationship with food that is very alive, aware and flexible with what is needed meal to meal, day to day, is a brilliant way of breaking through the notion that there is a ‘fix it all’ diet out there that will solve everything when we find it. Our bodies, our days, our ages, genders and work require different support at different times. Understanding this means that all we have to do is build an open, listening, respectful and responsive dialogue with our bodies.

  5. We can use food to fill ourselves up but what are we filling ourselves up with? The more we understand energy the more we become aware of how food can affect us and then it becomes much easier to make changes that we know will support the body and not just our taste buds or cravings.

  6. I agree, the more I value the loveliness of me the less I want to put food into my body that dulls me, bloats me or makes me racy.

  7. When given a menu or choice of foods, such as during a supermarket shop, what goes through our head whilst our eyes are searching the different dishes or we walk down the various aisles?… Do we buy to nourish ourselves or our family, or do we try to ‘get away with’ eating certain foods, fill the fridge with ‘fillers’ that will feed the family or even get concerned over whether our diet will help us to lose weight, or if it matches the ‘eatwell plate’ where we are getting the apparent right amount of nutrition? Often we are thinking about so many other things than what will be a nourishing meal.

    1. the last one is often the case. Showing us that there is something driving us to eat in a way that is not that nourishing possibly. And so, of our great concern it might be now, to feel underneath and see what is driving us to eat certain foods and what underlying cause is craving to fill our hunger? A beautiful question to ask ourselves. Honestly.

  8. Food and the way we eat is something that evolves as we do, so should never be stagnant. In that it’s important that we don’t become attached to a way of eating. It does take time to allow ourselves to listen to our bodies to determine what it is we will eat.

  9. It is interesting how we overlook and do not want to address the more subtle reactions in our body from food, convincing ourselves with our mind that they are still okay to eat and we are managing just fine. I have found though, that as my awareness expands and with that how I treat and take care of my body, the subtle reactions feel more impactful so that I don’t want to hurt my body and choose instead to listen and make changes that feel more aligned and in harmony with what my body needs.

  10. It is interesting how I will find myself reaching for snack foods and wanting to eat even though I might actually not feel hungry at all. And further to that I can easily justify that the food I am eating as a snack or a meal is healthy or good for you, so it is like this implies that is it fine to eat, even though my body is actually not hungry at all. And how often do we overeat in social occasions when we are distracted by the company or the conversation? The body thrives on getting breaks from food just as much as it thrives on receiving nourishing and supportive food when it needs it. It is simply about tuning into what is happening and feeling your way with it as Frank has shared, and being open to exploring why we might go against what feels natural to us.

    1. There is so much in what you have said here Henrietta. Something you have said about the body thriving on getting breaks from food is an interesting one and something in the western culture that is rarely, if at all discussed or even considered. 3 meals a day plus snacks is the ‘ideal way of eating’. But does it really suit our bodies. Do we thrive on eating this way? If we look at our current health and our waist lines one could say no, but there comes the quality of food we are eating also. What I am learning is that the diet we have and the food we eat is nothing about diet and food and all, but how we are with ourselves during the day, how we express (or not) and what we are prepared (or not) to deal with.

  11. Frank, what a wonderful and simple sharing with a practical suggestion too. I love this part especially: “What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.”

    1. I find sometimes that my body feels all the things I associate with hunger, the tummy gurgles, etc, but my body also communicates strongly some of those times not to eat. Yes I am hungry but my body seems busy taking care of other jobs and asks me to give my digestion a break. This always feels great when I honour it and it’s a constant learning process.

  12. What has helped me with food and eating in the wrong manner that I am developing more is to appreciate and confirm when I feel lovely in my body. The more I know this the more I do not want to degrade this feeling.

    1. Rik, I find this is a truly helpful comment. I often let my food craving overtake the wanting to take care of myself and will either overeat, or prepare my food in rushed manner and eat it quickly. I can feel that by appreciating the quality of feeling the loveliness in my body more, I will be less likely to want to sabotage myself.

    2. On reading your comment Rik what I pondered on is, often we diet because we do not like our body, but it seems currently we rarely have a relationship with food based on absolutely feeling lovely and loving our body!

  13. “What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” So true we don’t always take a moment to feel what we are eating and if it is still something that the body needs, especially when it tastes so good.

  14. Frank I found your blog really helpful in supporting me to ponder and reflect on my patterns, beliefs and momentums around the foods and drinks I give to my body. I realise while reading your article how I often nibble at food especially when it is freshly cooked or baked, in future when I find the urge to do this I will ask myself the question ‘am I genuinely hungry?’ if not I will know it is time for some self reflection.

  15. This is great Frank. We can make up so many rules when it comes to food but they are all false and used to avoid the responsibility of tuning in to the body.

    1. It seems our current food trend has become so complicate and like you shared Leonne there seems to be so many rules. What’s happened to simplicity and appreciating food? Have we as a modern society gone a bit nuts with food?

  16. How long it will take to prepare seems to be a key question in many of the eating choices we have. Fast food home delivery businesses are booming, so that tells us… speed of availability of what we want is a primary consideration. The question is does that requirement support us to eat what our body really needs? What type of fuel it needs that day? The answer is most often no… and so we are left with a clue to true health. Our eating choices must come from what the body needs and what the mind demands.

    1. Well shared Heather – the fast food trade is booming as we live in a society where instant gratification is an expected norm. With this, the body and its needs are more often than not neglected and as a result we have a plethora of illness and disease very much life style related.

  17. “…food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat!” When we look at it this way we can feel liberated by our power to choose in the moment what feels right for our body, rather than do the automatic thing just because we have done it a million times before.

  18. How many of us eat when we are not hungry?? Gosh I bet if we did this one simple thing and only ate when we were hungry and knew what this truly was we would see a lot of health benefits.

    1. Eating when we are not hungry is such an emotional reaction to what is going on in our lives. I am aware that many times I have repeatedly reached for some sort of food to placate or numb what I am feeling emotionally, which can leave me feeling even worse afterward….

  19. We as a society are, in the main, programmed to believe that we need three meals a day and at those meals we eat certain things, depending on our culture, age etc. But nowhere in this programming did I ever find the advice to listen to my body before eating and to see if it actually wanted the food that I was about to feed it. If I had, I would have avoided many years of discomfort, digestive issues and often a lot of pain.

    1. Food is my instant go to when I want to dull myself and I don’t want to feel. This can simply be eating too much at meal times, even with the healthy stuff. Paying attention to what I want to avoid supports this. Ingrid, I agree that being supported, from the earliest of ages, to listen our bodies about what they actually need would be a gift in terms of living life well.

  20. I am so glad I came upon this blog today as my relationship with food needs a serious reviewing. You have reminded me that to be able to eat in the way that truly supports me requires me to be in connection first. It’s not about eating according to the image of what and how I should be eating, but it is a connection with my body where I learn to listen and respond.

  21. ‘…food is a daily choice…’ the simplicity and openness of this comment offers us the opportunity to break patterns and habits that do not necessarily serve and support us (fish fridays, roast on sundays, breakfast is king, 3 meals a day… the list is long) and build a listening and responsive relationship with our bodies’ and their feedback.

  22. What I am starting to be aware of more is not what I eat but HOW do I eat and came to the realisation just now that a lot of the time I eat instead of first connecting to how I am feeling. It is like if I have had a really busy non stop day I will get home cook my dinner and eat and although it is not rushed I am not allowing myself to first stop, be with me feel and digest my day first. Awesome that I am aware of this the next step is to change it!!!

  23. This blog is inspiring for us to all look at our relationship with food – a great one to ask, ‘am I truly hungry’ or ‘am I eating because of the time’? And secondly – to simply feel what supports us and honour our bodies.

  24. There are lots of schools of thought around what is and isn’t good for us, which can be confusing when they say conflicting things, but by bringing our awareness back to our body and how we are really feeling, we can learn a lot about which foods work for us, as well as the timing of when we eat, how much and the impact of emotions on the way that we cook, eat and digest…

  25. Our issues, behaviours and or obsession with food goes way beyond taste buds, nutritiousness, healthy or not. It is a very emotional and energetic matter that can relate to many aspects of life, whereby food is basically used to self-medicate. Developing a really supportive and healthy relationship with food requires awareness and healing of one´s inner state of being, so that food is no longer needed for emotional regulation.

  26. I am allowing my body to guide me what to eat, when to sleep, when to get up and when to rest and this is all a learning process.

  27. Eating food is something we all must do to live, but to begin to consider that we eat to maintain our body in a way that it can provide the optimum service to humanity possible completely changes how, when and what we eat.

  28. I wonder how many people ask the question, “am I genuinely hungry?” or just follow the automatic ritual of the generally accepted lifestyle? I know I did. Since asking that question my eating habits have greatly changed and I feel far healthier for it.

  29. “What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” Realising this has brought a whole new dimension to the choice and preparation of what I eat and with that has come far more enjoyment and satisfaction, which has rippled out into all aspects my life.

  30. Thank you Frank, the level of detail you have shared around food offers an exquisite level of care. The body and what it needs definitely does change and move in cycles, and each person also has unique needs when it comes to diet. It’s very supportive to return to being aware of our body and what foods are nourishing for us personally.

  31. A great realisation Frank, it is important to understand our behaviour and relationship around food, and how we need to discern and feel exactly what our body is calling for to nourish and support it, and not to use food to relieve the tension we feel in our body, or to dull our awareness.

  32. “What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” Food is either medicine or poison, as is the way we prepare our food and eat it. The choice is always ours.

  33. The WAY that we eat is important food for thought (or thought for food) too. How we organise our meals, converse at the dinner table and actually eat is so important and can have a huge impact on our body.

  34. I have read this blog while sitting down having my dinner. And it made me stop and feel what I was eating and why. Was it truly what my body wanted to have and the answer would be no but I am loving parsley at the moment! Also I definitely eat when I am not hungry, I think if I ate when I was ONLY hungry my meals/food intake would be halved.

  35. There are so many reasons why we eat other than being hungry. I really don’t think most of us in the west at least know what genuine hunger feels like. Last year I experimented with only eating once a day. I found I had lots of feelings in my tummy that I had previously taken for hunger but soon realised they were discomfort from a tight stomach, boredom etc. This was definitely an eye opener!

  36. It is interesting here when you write about food and time and how inter-related they can be. I had not really appreciated this before, but in the daily rhythms and cycles of life, there is a definite correlation between what time of day it is and therefore when one should eat – regardless of the body’s processes and where it is at with those at that time.

  37. The more I listen to my body the more I am guided as to knowing what truly supports by well-being, be it with food or otherwise. As being aware of the effect emotions have on my body and being has been very revealing and empowering, in that more often than not is what is behind our unloving food choices to begin with.

  38. We often only think about the taste and texture of food we have in our mouth for about 30 seconds and over ride the negative effects on our body which has to digest for the next day or so.

  39. It is a lovely thing also to consider how we can also come together to share a meal rather than the focus on being what is eaten even though consideration is given for what each feels supportive to eat.

  40. I feel that being distracted by what our head is telling us about what flavour, crunch, or spicy our food is, or simply if we are hungry when we have only finished eating a huge meal an hour or two before, or even the thoughts of pangs of hunger, can make us want to overeat.

  41. It’s quite clear to me that as a society we have a eating problem, to be honest when I was growing up there didn’t seem to be many over weight people. Now when I look around most people seem to be over weight to varying degrees; but then there’s more food available to buy, more restaurants, fast food outlets. We spend huge amounts of money on food and at the same time waste so much that I have to wonder why it has become such a must have commodity.

  42. It really raises the question of the purpose of why and what to eat. Sure we are hungry and need food to supply the body with nutrients and some energy but that is not all to us, not everything why we eat, what we eat for and what effect eating has on our state of being. Just opening ourselves up to these questions will unfold a lot of insights and answers, expand our awareness and will probably surprise us in many ways.

  43. “Foods that suit me now may not in the future, and foods that I have dismissed previously may actually be beneficial now, or at some point in the future” – how true , and I’m also finding this too Frank.. it makes sense because the body changes over time and hence so too do foods to support that change, or evolution.

  44. Yes, this is so interesting. I’ve recently did an experiment that allowed me to really see just how obsessed I was with food. I had no idea how owned I was by it. The thoughts about food were constant all day long, from when I was going to eat next, what I needed to prepare, when I was going to prepare, what I was going to buy etc etc. What I realised in my experiment was that I’m not actually hungry for most of the day at all, contrary to what my head might be telling me. It’s just thoughts running me that aren’t actually real.

  45. What a great realisation Frank . . . ” What I now realise is that food is a daily choice which I actually need to consider every time I decide to eat, not just treat it as an automatic response to hunger.” . . . yes we need to feel what is needed rather than eat for the sake of eating. And when we do feel what we need everything tastes better and digestion becomes easier.

  46. I can still fall into the trap of eating something quick and easy, rather then feeling into exactly what I need that will best support my body. When I do listen to my body, I do not tend to over eat because I feel a sense of being filled with love and not stuffed with food

    1. Which is the very thing we avoid doing; filling ourselves with love. This is a major turning point when it comes to food. The need to fill what is not full with food is non existent if we are already filled with love.

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